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The Chrysanthemum and the Sword Paperback – January 25, 2006
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Many readers say that this book is not creditable because Ruth Benedict had not lived in Japan. That is irrelevant. This book cuts through craps and shows you the core of Japanese cultural mechanism.
The losers, Germany and Japan, not only had to be punished, but these nations needed to be revived and given a fresh start.
In this political situation, the American government decided to get advice not only from the military and politicians, but also from the anthropologists - in an attempt to understand foreign, now subordinate, societies. The Japanese culture, so alien and distant from the American one, which is firmly rooted in Europe, was analyzed by Ruth Benedict, an anthropologist from Columbia University. The goal was to learn of the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese in order to assume the best strategy towards the end and after the WWII.
Benedict writes with rare objectivity, describing Japanese traditions and customs, the habits, which are obvious in Japan, but weird, extreme or unheard of for an average Western person. She describes the situations, when the Japanese expect politeness and respect, and when they cannot count on any; when they feel shame, confusion and embarrassment; what they demand from their family, friends, co-workers and themselves. She discusses their roots, symbols and ideas on which the society is based (this is not a book about religion or art, so they are only mentioned when necessary).
The fact, that Benedict had never set foot in Japan, was nothing special - it was believed that it is possible for an anthropologist to use means other than personal experience in their work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This review is only for the Kindle Edition.
The Kindle edition seems like a poor attempt of OCR with enough review to insert footnotes. Read more
excellent book on gaining an insight into the japanese culture and way of life.
It is an older book, but is still quite relevant for today. Read more
I can't imagine the amount of work the author has to put in to write this, as she has not even been to Japan.
An amazing piece of work.
I liked especially the descriptions of Zen Buddhism and its basis in the Japanese culture and ethic. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
An excellent overview of history even if written in the 1940s. It is a classic book by an eloquent writer. Examples used to verify points were well chosen. Read morePublished 11 months ago by inky
Good description of the Japanese culture and how to understand them betterPublished 12 months ago by Yitch
Excelent service. This particular book is a must to any japanologist. Thank you.Published 15 months ago by Martin Hargous
For me, the most interesting part of this book is Ruth Benedict's breakdown of the various levels of debt (social obligation), or "on", in Japanese culture and her analysis... Read morePublished 17 months ago by setlib